Teen shot multiple times by plainclothes police in Brooklyn
Compiled from various sources
submitted by: Fiona Kerr – January 2014
Updates on this case listed at the foot of this item
16 year-old Kimani Gray, who was nicknamed ‘Kiki’ was shot to death by two plain clothes police men in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday 9 March 2013. Kimani had just left a 16th birthday party, at around 11.30pm and was standing outside his best friend’s house with a group of 5 friends.
According to the New York Police Division (NYPD), two Brooklyn South Anti Crime plain-clothes officers had been on patrol when they noticed young males near 473 East 52nd Street. The police officers noticed one male “break away from the group upon noticing the police. The male… adjusted his waistband and continued to act in a suspicious manner. The officers exited their unmarked auto and attempted to engage the suspect, who turned on them, and pointed a 38 calibre revolver at the officers. Both officers fired at the suspect, striking him about the body.”
Kimani was hit seven times and had wounds in both the front and back of his body, including his shoulder, rib cage, forearm and legs. The officers fired 11 shots in total, whilst no shots were fired at them. Kimani was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A police officer may use deadly force when the officer has a reasonable fear of serious injury or death and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the shooting appeared to be within those guidelines stating that; “We have three [civilian] witnesses, two of which said that one of the officers shouted ‘Don’t move’ and ‘Freeze.’ Two witnesses also said they heard officers say, ‘What do you have in your hands?'”
The NYPD have even indicated that by their standards Kimani’s death is a “good shooting” with John C. Cerar, the former commander for firearms training at the Police Department, stating: “Under the reported circumstances, it appears to be a good shooting.”
However, the NYPD’s account of the shooting has been disputed, with at least one witness claiming that Kimani was unarmed. Tishana King witnessed the confrontation from her third-story window in a neighbouring building, and said she is, “certain he didn’t have anything in his hands.” King, 39, a medical records clerk at Kings County Hospital, said she gave a tape-recorded interview to detectives several hours after the shooting.
Speculation was rife amongst the local community, some had heard that Kimani, while armed, did not point the gun; others said they had heard that there had been no gun at all, or that his hands had been in the air.
A pair of brothers who were with Kimani moments before the shooting said they did not know Kimani was armed: “The cops, they just jumped out of the car so fast,” said Devonte Brown, 16. “They started shooting him and he went down. He was bleeding, holding his side, screaming, ‘Stop, stop!’
“We were just hanging out,” added Brown’s brother, Akeem Brown, 15. “We didn’t know he had a gun.”
On the Wednesday after Kimani’s death, around 200 people held a candlelight vigil in East Flatbush, which is one of the two worst precincts for shooting fatalities in New York City. However raw feeling prompted outrage in the community, and led to several days of protests and riots and 46 arrests for disorderly conduct.
Rickford Burke, president of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy and an organiser of Wednesday’s vigil, condemned the looting but said the disorderly response came from a deep feeling of frustration in the community that police officers regularly harass and target young black men.
Carole Gray, Kimani’s mother, told a press conference, the Thursday after Kimani’s death, “He was slaughtered, and I want to know why. Today was very hard,” she said, and paused for a long moment before she was able to finish the sentence. “I had to choose the colour of the casket that I wanted.”
A second cousin of Kimani, Ray Charles, said he was devastated to learn of his death — and was still having trouble accepting the NYPD’s official version of events.“My cousin was scared of guns,” said Charles, 35. “I honestly just want justice. They didn’t need to shoot him like that.”
One year after police killing: ‘Justice for Kimani Gray’
21 March 2014
Family of NYC teen shot by police to speak out
14 March 2013